For anyone who can't wait for the new crop of mindless summer movies, this offering should nicely fill the gap. Taking a fairly intriguing concept—a Jewish man who only dates gentiles and a gentile man who obsesses about a Jewish wife—Bryan Fogel and Sam Wolfson, with the help of terminally hyped-up director Andy Fickman (Reefer Madness), sail this high-concept juvenilia into the stratosphere. The running joke is that no one in his right mind would want to marry a Jewish woman, which will certainly amuse every Jewish woman in the audience. Chris (Fogel), a nice Catholic boy, wants a Jewish wife because she will make all his decisions for him. Adam (Wolfson) only dates gentile girls because Jewish women remind him of his mother. The two writers, playing their alter egos like deranged adolescents hopped up on their own cleverness, frenetically concoct a plan whereby Chris will introduce Adam to Jewtopia through an Internet Jewish dating service where he will find the Jewish girl of his dreams, if Adam will teach him the Jewish culture—basically bagels, latkes, and the science of shopping.
Taking care to touch on every superficial stereotype, this almost-three-hour tasteless romp should have remained the 15-minute sketch of its origins. The level of Jewish self-hate is off the charts. There are a few laughs at some of the less offensive silliness in the first act, plus an occasional ah-hah! at the kind of ethnic humor Jackie Mason does better, but tedium is the message in the attenuated second act, which takes off in several new directions, then wraps up with pansy-faced, pseudo-philosophical moralizations that are totally off-tone.
As a couple of Jewish Mothers, Lin Shaye manages to be very funny with dignity, in spite of the god-awful script; as a Jewish father, Lorry Goldman acquits himself agreeably; as the Mongolian non-Jew Adam finally falls for, Irina Pantaeva has a decent sweetness that manages to rise above the bad sitcom high jinks; Alan Charof as Rabbi Schlomo and Adam's oversexed senile grandfather has a certain, albeit repellent, presence. Jackie Tohn, as several of Adam's Internet dates, all equally obnoxious but with different wigs, manages to create one repulsive cartoon after another, over-playing all her roles, for the most part seeming to speak in tongues. (Is it a stud in her tongue, or just some teen-time argot we don't recognize?)
We are warned not to take any of this seriously, which would be easier if it were genuinely funny, but the overall level of the humor is MTV cartoon, complete with penis jokes, caricatures instead of characters, offensive images, and over-the-top mugging. It's definitely not for the mature at heart.
"Jewtopia," presented by Frank Yablans and WEJ Productions at the Coast Playhouse, 8325 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood. Thurs.-Sat. 8 p.m., Sun. 3 p.m. May 8-June 15. $20-25. (800) 595-4849.